Parameter optimization techniques for the design of linear automatic control systems that are applicable to both continuous and digital systems are described. The model performance index is used as the optimization criterion because of the physical insight that can be attached to it. The design emphasis is to start with the simplest system configuration that experience indicates would be practical. Design parameters are specified, and a digital computer program is used to select that set of parameter values which minimizes the performance index. The resulting design is examined, and complexity, through the use of more complex information processing or more feedback paths, is added only if performance fails to meet operational specifications. System performance specifications are assumed to be such that the desired step function time response of the system can be inferred.